Mark Magsayo, Gary Russell just focused on battle ahead
MANILA, Philippines—Boxing is a sport often filled with animosity, but there are also those instances where fights are sold on the pure science of it.
Mark Magsayo will try to wrest the WBC World featherweight title from long-time champion Gary Russell Jr., and the two are more concerned on fighting each other than stirring up any bad blood.
“So I know Mark will bring his physical best, I know he wants it, it’s a pleasure to share the field of battle with him, that’s all. We coming,” said Russell in the pre-fight press conference Friday (Manila time) at Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.
Russell (31-1), who has held the belt since March 2015, only defended the title five times with his last one a unanimous decision win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar in February 2020.
‘NO RING RUST’
Ring rust was the obvious concern for observers but Magsayo (23-0) nary sees any signs of slowing down from Russell, who also mentioned he’s nursing a “slight injury.”
“I know there’s no ring rust for him, which is good,” said Magsayo, who earned the title shot when he knocked out Julio Ceja in the 10th round in August 2021. “Maybe I’m the one to beat him, give him his second loss.”
“There’s a lot of people saying that I don’t have the skills like him but Filipinos are Filipinos, we’re born strong, we’re warriors.”
Russell, whose only loss was at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko, admired Magsayo’s desire to take him on and prove his worth.
“Just like Mark said he said he’s gonna show me what the Filipinos bring and what they bring, that’s honorable, that’s very honorable for you to support not just yourself but your people as a whole that’s what you’re supposed to do,” said Russell.